Do you sleep with one leg out?

(SHNS illustration by Audrey Webb)
Story by Lori Borgman
(McClatchy-Tribune News Service)
Thu, Jan 19, 2012
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I was at a sporting goods store waiting to pay for an item when a woman ahead of me said, “I like your vest.” It was a quilted corduroy vest with a fake fur collar.

“Wouldn’t that be perfect for running in and out of stores in the cold?” she said to her friend.

“Like sleeping with one leg out,” the woman said.

I was stunned. Speechless.

Here, all this time I thought I was the only one who slept with one leg out.

The ladies represented an entire demographic (and one apparently going public) that sleeps with one leg out.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re not one of us.

We are a set of sleepers who regulate our internal thermostats by throwing one leg out from beneath the covers to keep from overheating.

Some refer to it as the thermostat-control leg.

There are also variations on the theme. There is the thermostat-control arm and the thermostat-control foot for those who can regulate their internal temperature by merely venting a foot or an arm. And special kudos to those who can regulate something as delicate as body temperature by venting only the big toe.

I have always believed it is healthier to be on the cold side rather than the warm side, particularly at night. On occasion, the husband has said, “Why don’t we just sleep outside?”

“Why don’t we?” I chirp. “Our ancestors did.”

He claims his ancestors did not sleep outside, but came from a long line of luxury hotel chain magnates that cranked the thermostat to 80 degrees in each and every room.

Naturally, if you have a temperature control leg, arm, foot or toe, you will marry someone who can never pile enough bedding on the bed, owns thermal underwear and wore socks to bed as a child.

It is for the family’s own good that I keep the thermostat set low.

I have always believed that being chilly makes you more productive than being warm. When you get too warm, you get sleepy. Then you feel lethargic. The next thing you know, you’re cracking your head on the floor because you fell off your computer chair.

When certain family members stop by they frequently complain about the temperature in the house. We have one daughter who often refuses to remove her coat.

“My hands are frozen,” she will say.

“Put them in this warm dishwater,” I say. “That will fix everything.”

Another one complains, “My feet are turning to ice.”

“Well, of course they are,” I say. “You need to keep moving. Why don’t you run this laundry upstairs? Then you can sweep the kitchen and unload the dishwasher. You’ll feel warmer in no time.”

It is reassuring to know that I am not alone in the one leg out routine, my quest for cooler air and productive living.

Maybe we’ll start a support group. We can meet at my place.

Wear a jacket.

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